The Tathams of County Durham
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Edward Charles Vienet (1894-1948)

Letter to his mother, May 1916

Extract from a letter sent by Private Teddy Vienet to his mother at Ceres

France, May 16th, 1916. -- Just a few lines to let you know I am in the pink of condition. Harry got hit in the thigh the other day by a piece of bursting bomb. He was not badly hurt, but it was enough to take him away from the trenches for a while, and he will probably go to England for a month or two. I hope by then most of the hard fighting will be over. Things are fairly brisk over here. Our battalion has just come out of the trenches for a spell. It was what we call quiet, except for the night of May 5th; the Fritz sent over some "Iron Rations" to some order. The whole affair lasted just over two hours and I can tell you the noise of the big guns and the shells screaming overhead was terrible. It was solely artillery for about an hour and a half; the other three quarters of an hour they put in the machine guns and rifles. The bullets seemed to rattle on our parapet in millions. Whilst the artillery duel was on we could observe over the parapet, but as soon as the machine guns started to rattle, down came our heads and all observing was done through periscopes. Our parapet was badly cut about, but it is surprising how few got hurt during that period of "Hell fire". Our total casualties were four killed and 28 injured. It was considered the heaviest bombardment round this sector for 15 months.

Enough of war. Our move from Egypt to France caused a delay in our mails, and it was a good bit before we got any letters. We are getting well treated by the French people, who can't do too much for us. By the time this reaches you Harry will be kicking his heels around some convalescent home in England. His wound is only slight, and is what our chaps call a "Blighty", which means "a holiday". I had a good talk to Bob Wallace a couple of days ago, and he wished to be remembered to you. I hope Dad is not troubled with his back now. Remember me to all. -- Your loving son, Ted.

[Our Ceres correspondent informs us that Mrs. Bonney, the mother of the writer, has given three sons to the Empire's cause. One died on the voyage to Egypt. To rear these she had a struggle, having been left a widow with a large family in poor circumstances, and had not the Protestant Orphanage helped her, her lot would have been hard.]

[Victoria local newspaper, 01 Jul 1916]

Linked toEdward Charles Vienet (Military Service)

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